Electronic receipt: France stands out in Europe
Published on 6 September 2022
For several years now, retailers in some European countries have not been required to provide their customers with a paper receipt. France has chosen to go further, by banning their systematic printing from January 1st 2023. To comply, professionals have one main alternative: the e-ticket.
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Paper tickets: systematic printing prohibited from 2023
Introduced through Law No. 2020-105 of February 10, 2020 on the fight against waste and the circular economy, more commonly known as the anti-waste law, this decision has a primary objective: to reduce waste and preserve natural resources.
Next year, paper tickets can only be issued if the customer requests them. As stated in Article L541-15-10 of the Environmental Code (FR), this new framework concerns :
- cash register receipts ;
- bank card tickets;
- tickets issued by vending machines (cash dispenser, payment terminal, etc.);
- vouchers and other promotional tickets.
The e-ticket, an ecological and business opportunity
The ban on systematically printing receipts, which is being pushed at the European level, can present retailers with major challenges. Nevertheless, this new regulatory framework has a triple benefit, for retailers and for the planet:
- Reduced waste: printing receipts requires significant natural resources. However, many customers throw them away directly after receiving them, constituting a significant waste.
- A reduction in waste: whether or not they are used by consumers, paper tickets end up being thrown away, sometimes even on the public highway. Ending the systematic printing of paper tickets reduces waste and pollution.
- Operating savings: Retailers' expenses for paper rolls and ink cartridges, which are essential for printing tickets, should rapidly decrease starting in 2023.
rolls of paper are used on average for printing cash register receipts each year per hypermarket(1).
In this context, the e-ticket is a credible alternative to paper tickets. The dematerialization of this item can indeed constitute a business opportunity for shops:
- Better data collection: to benefit from a dematerialized receipt, consumers will most often provide an e-mail address. This allows the retailer to capture more information and better track their purchasing behavior.
- A loyalty tool: in order to avoid having to communicate their identity, e-mail address or telephone number at each purchase, customers can create a loyalty card online or at the time of their first purchase and present it at the cash register the following times. A tool that provides more information to the points of sale and facilitates the sending of personalized marketing actions.
- A response to customer expectations: many customers no longer want their paper receipt. Its dematerialization therefore meets their expectations, especially since it offers specific functionalities (online storage of receipts, payment history, etc.).
A craze that is spreading throughout Europe
For mainly environmental reasons, many European countries are gradually abandoning the paper receipt, some even preferring a digital receipt:
- In England: retailers are no longer required to provide a receipt, either in paper or digital format. Customers can still request a receipt and, depending on the nature of the purchase, it is printed at the cash register or sent by e-mail.
- In the Netherlands: the same principle as in England applies here. However, there is one difference: fewer and fewer stores are using paper receipts, with most opting for dematerialized solutions when the customer requests them or for large purchases.
- In Belgium: since 2014, merchants can choose to provide a paper or digital receipt to their customers, if they request it.
- In Denmark: the national credit card is called Dankort. This is coupled with a mobile application, allowing Danes to retrieve their receipt automatically on their smartphone after paying (within participating stores).
- In Italy: since 2020, all merchants are obliged to issue an electronic receipt, whose data is transferred to the Italian tax authorities in order to limit fraud. However, the printing of paper tickets is still common in Italy.
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(1) The anti-waste law for a circular economy - Ministry of Ecological Transition - 2022